Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 16, 2009 7:45am-8:30am EDT

7:45 am
bookstore here in washington, this lasts about 45 minutes. >> good evening and thank you all so much for coming. i'm going to talk a little bit about the inspiration about the book first. adjust the mics. and then i'm going to read three passages, one from libya, a little bit just to sort of make the setting and then two short ones. i'm always amazed as a journalist at how often stories come from stray remarks that somebody makes and this book is no exception. i was on vacation actually from my job as the middle east bureau chief and a a woman said i have a question about the middle east and usually they want to ask what the solutions and the problems are. and this woman said aren't there any normal people in the middle east? [laughter]
7:46 am
>> people like you and me? or at least people like i could relate to and i said, yeah, sure, there's all kinds and what have you been reading and she said the "new york times." [laughter] >> so i thought about all the things that i had been writing about since i was a reporter there starting in 1988 and i realized that there was this log of violence that i had covered. the first gulf war, various palestinian uprising against the occupation, the fall of 9/11. and the american invasion of iraq. and, you know, i tried whenever i had time to write different things but the main theme was the violence so when i went back i made a sustained effort to try to -- i'm wondering if my phone is on. i made a sustained effort to try to find different people who were not involved in the
7:47 am
violence and i got some of them in the book. chef ramsey is my favorite. he's sort of a celebrity chef in lebanon and another who's a well-known divas in the arab world and she also played las vegas and she talks about how they are songs are this mythology because they are removed from the village life and they look at her songs as if it's a realistic history of what life was like in the villages. and i think -- i guess there's a lot of stories as a correspondent you have to write and these are the stories that i wanted to write and that's why i felt like there was something that really had to be sort of collected in a book 'cause i think if you just do them singularly it doesn't have it. and a lot of times people ask me about the title.
7:48 am
it's funny, of course, when you're doing radio, your publicist at the publishing company say the title as often as you can. on my first radio interview i spit south i said i know you're told to say that but if you keep saying it we're going to run out of time fast. [laughter] >> and i had a hard time what to call it and i couldn't figure it. and i invited 20 of my friends at dinner and fed them very good dinner and gave them red wine and i -- i sent them each a chapter, a different chapter and said, you know, come up with a title and they came up that i liked but the publisher -- one of them was waiter, there's a fly in my humus. there was shake, rattle and rule. and my personal favorite, but the quest of change in the middle east. [laughter]
7:49 am
>> but we came up with this one 'cause when you actually when you work in territory that hezbollah controls, you know, occasionally they let reporters in and they decide they are tired of all this and when they let you in, you have fill out a bunch of paperwork and they ask you what your college degrees are and who your parents are, et cetera and one of them they ask you is your birthday and the next birthday that rolls along up in my email popped a little sort of poetic birthday greeting at hezbollah at [laughter] >> so that is contained in the book. and now i'll start reading -- as carla said, i spent my childhood in libya. it was actually when i went back for the "new york times" that my first assignment within two weeks of arriving in cairo was to go back to libya, and i was
7:50 am
thrilled 'cause i grew up in a little town and we had left in 1975 and i had never been back. and this was 2001, and i was thinking, great, i had the chance to go back to my hometown and i kept getting stalled and this is where we are and where i'm trying to get there. i'm trying to get down there and there's something called a popular committee meeting was called and there were no flights and i had to wait. in theory the people ran everything. in practice, nothing ran. but the entire country shut down for the popular committees which unrolled as if a vermont town hall meeting had been cross-bred with a soviet bloc association. the brother's leader would abruptly suggest an agenda for sessions called at random at least twice a year. they usually involved strictly domestic matters but occasionally foreign affairs were included when he wanted to make some face-saving gesture. every office, schools,
7:51 am
government, ministries, airlines, shops closed for days, sometimes weeks while the committees met. truly important decisions, of course, notably anything affecting the oil industry were left in the hands of accomplished technocrats and never mentioned on any popular committee agenda. i resigned myself to the inevitable since there was absolutely no chance of getting permission to fly while the popular committees were in session and clearly there would be nothing else to do. so i wandered down revolution street from the hotel to the neighborhood session taking place in the rose movie theater. the lurid posters for a karate flick were still plastered out front despite the many banners hailing the enduring importance of the committees. the session proved a far better window on the feels of an average libyan than i ever could have imagined proving the accuracy of the advice of reporters go to everything. it was my first experience to a phenomenon that i subsequently
7:52 am
ran into again and again. one that proved the hardest to convey to newspaper reporters fed a steady diet from appalling violence in the region. the meetings indicated that ordinary arabs are well aware that their nations are out of step with the rest of the world. that they are fed up with both the incompetence of their rulers and the unpredictable quality of their lives. they crave normalcy but despair at how to attain it that brings jail terms and death to anyone trying to organize dissenters. one of the great failures of diplomacy in the middle east has been washington's inability to harness that frustration. the popular committee meetings indicated just how discouraged libyans were with their lot. life in libya was so unpredictable that people weren't even sure what year it was. the year mischaracterize visit was officially 1369 but two years earlier, libyans had been living through 1429.
7:53 am
no one could quite name the day for me when the count changed especially since both remained in play. a newspaper headline when i arrived, for example, heralded changes to number 4 for 1439. the people was dated 13 six5n9. confused?dc÷ so was i.x@ñ it's the fickle decisions switching suddenly from the standard muslim calendar to one marking the year since the prophet mohammed's death and then shifting to one counting from his birth. the rest of the 1.3 billion muslims around the world happily use a calendar that starts from the date that mohammed migrated from mecca to medina to find the faith. qaddafi also stated to some years ago that he disliked the names of both the western and the eastern months so he;rñ invented his own names.
7:54 am
february is lites. january is hannibal. other libyans just threw up their hands. why do we keep using different dates, bellowed a womane8ç at a popular committee meeting. i was standing in the upstairs but had no trouble hearing her below. why can't we be like any other muslim's country? what is this? the libya's leader like this. his decisions kept the lives of ordinary libyans endlessly veering toward bedlam being the only one knowing what is going on seemed to reassure qaddafi that he would be difficult to replace. it seemed to>rt me that two lib existed and rarely intersected. there was qaddafi's libya a rich oil state that craved recognition on the world's stage. that libya used to attract
7:55 am
attention by underwriting a host of violent groups until it tired itself of an international pariah. they had been seeking redemption who was playing the elder unifying africa. the other libya is where the 5 million libyans really lived. they couldn't find anyone that seemed to know how many there were. their roads are potholed and the telephone unreliable and the youth need jobs. despite being sacked byiqr the iraqis in the 1990s kuwait city is criticized locked with the expensive bmws while huge fairs. small hotels that are small
7:56 am
tourists are kicked out for some visi&çi delegation. qaddafi declared anything over approximately $3,000 in private bank accounts is excessive and should revert to the state. the huge number of libyans on the public payroll about 800,000 went to thepj1980s and 1990s without a wage increase. sometimes they didn't get paid at all for months on end. undoubtedly many problems stem from the u.n. sanctions placed at the time. the libyans were incensed they touched so few benefits from their oil revenue which is running to about $10 billion annually before prices catapulted into the stratosphere reaching record highs at $150 a barrel. the grrv occasionally reached qaddafi who had a speech that they better get off their back sidesxs and start working because the oil would not last forever. the rant had little 0f;q#fect. the roads here might as well have been through the war in
7:57 am
chechnya said a housewife addressing a popular meeting. we are an oil-rich country we should have better roads and whoever built them on trial before the masses. all the facilities are in bad shape, transportation, healthcare, we are not satisfied with anticipate of this. a proclamation i read on qaddafi's official website stated, quote, the revolution is for libyans like the air they breathe and the light by which they see. but from my experience they saw little good in it and, in fact, found it stifling. to me being a libyan is like being forced to attend a rather gothic circus that one didn't particularly want tickets for in the firstm place. as the popular committee meeting dragged m"xon, shopkeepers bemo their losses but any stores found open for business faced a stiff fine and a license suspension. libyans told me they had to show their stamped attendance record at odd moments when leaving the country, for example. no stamp could mean no exit.
7:58 am
at this particular session after roughly three hours of meandering discussions, i watched a large group of women suddenly break for the exit. the guards out front pushed them back inside, rolling down a heavy green metal gate to contain them. one of the stout, matronly officials running the meeting emerged and screamed at the anyone who leaves and say she didn't attend,jgp she yelled. they did turn over one of the odd ball suggestions. once, for example, he announced elementary schools should be shuttered and all children taught at home. the9 meetings killed the plan. quote, thanks to the revolution, the libyan people, who formally lived in a state of ignorance and barbarity have become an organized and civilized people proclaimed qaddafi's website in bald contradiction on evidence at least on the organizational
7:59 am
front. the achievements of the revolution are so apparent they have put an end to idle debate and vainness. and then i'm just going to skip forward a little bit to the point where my libya sojourn came to a close. in libya, my two-week visa eventually expired and i had to leave never to be allowed to return. the information ministry pure crat took exception to my description of the popular committee meetings declaring that i had, quote, mocked libyan democracy. being banned from libya was a fallout no doubt but i would not have written the article any other way since bill was the gatekeeper for all foreign journalists and had qaddafi's ear there was no going around him. he made a show of being polite whenever i ran into him at an arab summit in the ensuing
8:00 am
engineers. i hoped he would change his mind but he never did. perhaps his best to leave the original braga intact preserved in my memory as if under glass the perfect little peach down where our small front yard was crowded with sailboats and my father came home a little texas town inadvertently planted along the mediterranean coast. in any case my childhood was long gone as we knew it would than one day and there was no going back. i had always been a transient in my hometown but in being thwarted from visiting i realized how my permanent sense that i was not from anywhere could be traced back to having grown up in a town not rooted in time or place. i was an ex-patriot no matter where i lived going back would not have changed that. he wanted -- ..
8:01 am
>> and i had first run into him because -- do i explain this? no, i went to a book, i went to a book fair, and his cookbook was by far outselling any other book, and i was sure it was going to be some religious book. and they said his book was, year after year, the best-selling book. and one of the things he had done was, you know, housewives in the arab world during the month of ramadan, it's sort of
8:02 am
like having to make thanksgiving dinner 30 days in a row, so they go crazy for new ideas, and he had gotten a bunch of lebanese to start making turkey instead of lamb for their ramadan fast. everybody was watching sitcom, so they thought it was a good idea. this is just an excerpt from one of his shows. he was on a mission to transform arab cuisine. his burly frame bursting out of his uniform introduced foods vicariously. he wanted households to get away from standard fare, to sample new dishes. part of chef ramsey's appeal was while cooking on television, he fielded live calls. future television had to add two operators to answer questions while he was on the air. his satellite television
8:03 am
broadcast considered mandatory viewing. watching him felt like eavesdropping on an extended arab living room. once a bee plopped down into a cream dish just minutes before the show ended. the chef told me he could not ignore it because the cameraman, the donkey, a crowning insult, focused right on it. [laughter] so the chef scooped it out with a large spoon and pronounced the dish unsullied. a woman from saudi arabia called immediately to complain that for the sake of hygiene -- and wasn't the chef always harping about hygiene in the kitchen? -- he should have tossed out the whole thing. the sudanese woman who called next said bees were mentioned in the koran as exceptionally clean
8:04 am
insects. he should have left it. [laughter] and then i'm going to -- since the iranian elections are friday, i thought i'd read a little bit about iran in here. and one of the chapters -- excuse me. one of the things i try and do particularly in the first half of the book is sort of look at summits that -- subjects that cause confusion or people have certain preconceived notions about and try to explain the perception outside and the reality as it's live inside the region. and just because of ayatollah khomeini's death sentence against sal monorushty, actually people turn to their clerics all the time to ask questions about their business lives, their sex lives, their home lives, all
8:05 am
kinds of things. and they also, i'm going to talk about this one because in iran they're always trying to get people to abandon their pet dogs because they think that -- well, i'll explain here. so they rumble out fatwas saying people should get rid of their dogs. perhaps my all-time favorite wrestling match between mullahs issuing repeated fatwas and iranians openly flouting them concerned dogs. the 1979 revolution was supposed to bring forth the first pure islamic state, so every few years the more zealous clerics would decide that pet dogs had to go. first, religious texts consider them unclean, plus, the love westerners shower on pets make them suspect. the religious police in saudi arabia are also canine-averse. in fact, dogs are not
8:06 am
particularly popular anywhere in the arab world because the culture of holding them in low order effects everyone. i had learned that no self-respecting iranian ayatollah reaches the exalted rank without producing a tome roughly the size of the manhattan telephone directer describing the prescriptions for leading a good islamic life. publishers in the holy city had helpfully translated the work of the grandest ayatollahs into english, so i went into a large bookstore to research dog fatwas. the references were remarkably uniform. placing dogs high on the list of unclean things that all good muslims shun. in addition, the islamic propaganda office published an abridged book of fatwas called everything you need to know. the list was topped by beer, wine, infidels and dogs.
8:07 am
emerging from the bookstore, i spotted a glass store front labeled the information bank. which the times endlessly reporter informed me was a computerized reference library for religious queries. thrilled, i went straight in to ask what does islam say about dogs? the staff plugged the word dog in, and all the official citations came out. the koran contains one vague reference to a tribe that owned dogs, but the prophet and his contemporaries that formed the basis mentioned dogs no fewer than 430 times. guard dogs and sheep dogs are condoned. but most ha at this times denigrated dogs as unclean. angels do not enter a house who
8:08 am
has a dog or a picture in it, read one. another said whoever keeps a dog except for hunting, guarding cattle and crops will lose one measure of his reward every day, a pet dog is a serious impediment to entering paradise. if a guard dog licks one of your dinner plates, for example, serious scrubbing is involved to restore its cleanliness. when the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times and rub it with dirt the eighth time. dog owners claim it's surely taken out of context. the seventh century dog probably had rabies. whether the prophet muhammad was issuing an all-encompassing edict or a very limited one-time situation. my initial interest in the whole doggy debate was sparked by a
8:09 am
provincial cleric whose friday sermon foaming against the four-legged was featured on the national news. quote, i would like to thank the honorable police and judges and all those who work to arrest dog lovers and confiscate short-legged dogs in this city, he thundered. going on to suggest that the martyrs for islam in the iran/iraq war should consider themselves doubly blessed because they had died before enduring such insults to islamic values. happy are those who became martyrs and did not witness the playing with dogs. now in our society women wear hats and men hold dogs. some of the more daring women had tried to replace their head scarves with hats. the number of dogs available sharply limited since dog sellers were treated as lowly
8:10 am
criminals, a black market thriefd. i met one well to do woman in north tehran who had let her tall black poodle wander a little too far only to watch in horror as two men on a motorbike swooped past and grabbed the pooch. the woman found her pet for sale a week later, home to the main animal market selling mostly birds but also exotic creatures like snakes, squirrels and monkeys. thieves trafficking in kid that happened dogs worked out of their car trunks. they deployed much like western dug dealers siding up -- sidling up to westerners, got a job. one who approached me was more specific, got a german sheppard, he whispered. we have all kinds of dog, except the kind of wear turbans, laughed one. [laughter] on the sidewalk i bumped into a
8:11 am
municipal worker. he explained the owner had to produce a license and a record of shots to stay any execution. he was immediately denounced by a man waving a dog license and demanding his animal back. when the city worker demurred, the man started screaming and choking him and prompting police intervention. one bystander suddenly turned to me and said quietly, there are no laws in the way they take away dogs, just like people. and i think i'll stop there, and i'll be happy to take your questions. [applause] >> the microphone for asking questions is in the center, and since c-span is in attendance it's even greater reason than usual to have you use the microphone. so while you're getting to the microphone, i have a question.
8:12 am
at one point in your book, you said that israel's stunning 1967 victory over the arab countries triggered a religious revival in the muslim world. and i wondered if you saw that as a direct relationship and whether, what are the factors besides israel's victory in 1967 that did trigger this incredible revival that we've witnessed in the last 15 years? >> i think, i think that was the start of it because, you know, i mean, everybody just couldn't understand how this small state had managed to defeat all the arab armies. and especially, you know, nasser had made a very big deal out of the idea that they would win. and he was the one that sort of first using the excuse of building up the army and the sort of police repression
8:13 am
apparatus because they were in a state of war, and he said, he wouldn't brook any criticism of his government. he said, you know, no voice should be louder than the voice of battle. and so, you know, he sort of used that government apparatus to repress all suppression and use -- sorry, to repress all critics and use the war as an excuse. and then there was sort of the double shock because while the war unfolded, though it wasn't for very long, cairo radio which was listened to by everyone across the region was proclaiming these huge victories, and suddenly six days later, bang, the arab armies were decimated, the golan heights was gone, east jerusalem was gone, so it was kind of like a shock to the arab body politic. and from that they started questioning, how could this happen, you know, how could we
8:14 am
be so week? and a group of people said, well, it's because we've gotten so far away from islam, and if we return to islamic values, then we will start reasserting ourselves. that was the the start of the seed, and from there it grew. and general political repression, mosques are the one area where people are allowed to operate and say what they want. there's obviously, you know, parables in the koran that have political content, and so if you talk about overthrowing the fair row, you know, you're reading from the koran, but everybody knows who you're really talking about. it allows a discourse to take place that you would be arrested for if you try to do it in any other venue. so those two factors are sort of what contributed to it building like that. yes, sir. >> thank you. i i want to say, first, that i've read your dispatches in the times with special interest.
8:15 am
i'm a semi-retired journalist, and i've often thought here's a man who really knows what he's talking about. >> thank you. >> i think you've done a terrific job reporting from the middle east. >> i appreciate that. >> my question has to do with iran. do you have some sense of who might win the presidential election on friday, or is there no way, are there no good polls, is there no other way to have that sense. and if moussawi, principle challenger, were to win, would it make any difference to the iranians or to the united states? >> on the prediction i'm afraid my glass ball is broken on that one. i mean, i think iran has a very limited democracy in the sense it isn't a free electoral system, the government vets everybody who becomes a candidate, but once that vetting process has taken place, it is a true democracy in that elections produce surprises. you don't know who's going to win, and you can't predict it. so, and everyone feels like it's
8:16 am
particularly close from what i've been reading and watching. there are and i think will it make a difference? yes, i think, you know, ha tammy made a difference in tone. i talk about this in my book. i used to go skiing, and i went up to the ski slopes the first time, and it was kind of unbelievable. they were still segregated by sex, i mean, there were ski slopes for men and women, and the women had to wear a nylon version of their uniform. and then i was thrown into jail because i had arrived on thursday night, and i went up there on friday, and i didn't have a permit to ask questions, so they tossed me into jail. and all my mates were trying to ski on the women's slopes, and they were thrown into jail.
8:17 am
[laughter] i went back about a decade later and, you know, it wasn't completely free. there was a woman in the base saying tuck your hair underneath your scarf, but up on the slopes they weren't segregated by sex anymore, and, you know, young men and women were kissing or at least canoodling in the restaurant on the top of the slopes, and they also had used before they had boomed out the call to prayer through the -- i mean the sermon, they had boomed out the friday sermon over these incredible loud speakers, i was kind of afraid it was going to trigger an avalanche. [laughter] but on a more serious note, when he came in, he really changed the social tone of the things because things got a lot looser. and so, you know, people's dress became looser and just art, you know, sprung up. you know, he opened cultural centers, and the press became much freer. but he was not, he wasn't a
8:18 am
confrontational man. and so he sort of had this can't we all get along attitude, and he was sort of gradually, you know, mowed over by the more conservative forces. and it was also sort of a strange thing in the foreign policy because, you know, like the americans in approaching iran they would say, you know, he's not really the man in power, it's the supreme leader, so we have to approach the supreme leader. and, you know, the president is immaterial. and when ahmadinejad came in, you know, they were like, well, he's antiwestern, and we can't, you know, we can't approach him. so i think that the president of iran has a real power to sort of set the tone both internally and with external relations. and, you know, i mean the people certainly want to change and to become, i think people -- it's a wildly popular move to have relations with the united states. so he could make a big difference. >> it's a wildly-popular move to have better -- to have relations where there are none now.
8:19 am
is that what you're saying? there's a lot of popular sentiment on that. >> they're a very sophisticated country, and they just want sort of, you know, they would like iran to have, you know, better relations with the world, they would like coming and going to be much easier. they just, they don't like being a praia. >> thank you. >> a total change of topic, but since i value your p i would like to hear what you have to say about the failure of the oslo process that started so promisingly with the handshake. >> i don't go into the arab/israeli dispute a lot, but i lived in jerusalem in 1993, and i actually had a, i threw a thanksgiving dinner, and i invited, you know, two israelis and two palestinians and two jordanians and thought i had this ecumenical feast, and the
8:20 am
day i went to put in the turkey, the oven door came offer in my hand. i sort of was worried that was a metaphor for the peace process. [laughter] i think oslo was a great moment because, you know, when you live there, you really sensed that people thought that change was coming. i think israelis, you know, they're insecure in that small area, and they thought they could breathe and move around a little more, and the palestinians built a casino in jericho, and they could move around in parts of the country that they hadn't before, and they really felt like this was going to make a difference. the palestinians thought they were going to get the israeli army out of their hair, and they wouldn't have checkpoints anymore, and i think it was a big failure of political leadership. you know, unfortunately rabin who was probably the one man who could make it stick was asass naitd, and it all kind of fell apart. but i think that constituency is still there, i think it would be
8:21 am
much harder to convince them, but i think the public on both sides if they really felt like there was a real bargain that, you know, would return to that frame of mind that they were in in 1993, you could get it back. >> i wonder if you could share your views on the foreign coverage of the new york times. with the exception of you and maybe half a dozen, perhaps a dozen others, i've seen bylines that come under "the new york times" from all sorts of places around the world, and i've never read anything by these people before, and then they disappear, and new people come in. i'm just wondering, i'm all in favor of the full employment act for journal lists, but i remember reading "the new york times" years and years ago where i would read who wrote in "the
8:22 am
new york times," when you change the players, i wonder if that affects the quality of what's going on? >> first of all, i think my newspapers does a great job on torn coverage, and i don't know what i'd do without it. but one of the things that you're noticing is a more equitable distribution of bylines because there used to be the policy that only a correspondent got a byline. so a lot of those names are the foreign staff that work for the times, and some of them, you know, worked for decades, and they've never gotten credit in the paper before. and they changed that policy, and they decided that people who work inside countries and who contribute a lot to the paper deserve to be recognized. so if they contribute a significant amount to the newspaper, they get a byline. and, of course, in places like iraq there's a certain amount of turnover, so those names change. and that's probably what you're noticing. there's also some turnover in correspondents, but usually it's 3-5 years the same person in the
8:23 am
same place. >> you answered my original question which had to do with how ordinary people of the kind that you describe feel about the possibility of a two-state solution. since, since oslo extremists on both sides seem to have gotten greater control of the process, or a greater stay in it, greater say in it. do you think that the new approach from obama could shake this up a little bit and maybe move us forward? >> you know, i've always said -- and since living in israel in the early 1990s and just around the region, i think that occupation has an incredibly corrosive effect. people look at that and they think, you know, it contradicts all the things we say about freedom and self-determination, and it just makes people furious. and so i think that if you had someone who came along and said we are going to end that and we are going to do, you know, the
8:24 am
right thing, that it would have an effect. and, you know, you're never going to convince the extremists. you just aren't. there's just a core of people, you know, i mean, when obama spoke in cairo, i switched on al-jazeera right afterwards, and they tossed to some muslim brotherhood, and he said, ah, it's just a bush speech. that's your constituency you're just not going to get, but if you reach over those gnatterring nay babs of -- nabobs and you convince the population, i think you really could have a success. [laughter] and i think one of the things, you know, that all american administrations have been reluctant to do with perhaps the exception of the first bush and baker was to push both sides. they would cajole, they'd listen, they'd let them stall, and i think at some point you need to say, listen, you're going to be neighbors forever. >> thank you.
8:25 am
>> how are you? good to see you. >> good to see you. >> congratulations on your book. >> thank you. >> i have a two-part question. i know you've covered the middle east and the muslim community quite well. i don't know if you still do that anymore. my question, two-part question. first is given that you lived in the middle east and then covered the muslim community, did either experience influence the other? you're one of the few writers that has lived in the middle east, and obviously you have a context chul background, so did that influence or shape how you understood the muslim community or reshape how you imagined the middle east? the second question is i know some papers are cutting their religion writers. the san francisco chronicle, for example. so how do you sort of see the status of religion writing in the united states in terms of indigenous communities? >> i think it did help. i mean, obviously, since i'd been exposed to the muslim world
8:26 am
and just spent a lot of time around it, it wasn't a mystery to me. i think the muslim community in the united states is incredibly defensive in part from the fallout from 9/11, i mean, just the way that people were afraid they were going to be expelled and people were thrown into jail and sort of part of the civil liberties seemed to apply to everybody but members of the muslim community. so it has made them kind of resistant to talking to reporters and telling their story, and i think the fact that i sort of, you know, i knew the culture and i knew the history and stuff helped break down some of those barriers. and, you know, but it was hard. and on the, on your second point it's true, you know, that the religion writers are being asked to do other things, and the times also, you know, they had a separate muslim beat when i was doing it, and they folded it back into the religion. and in some ways, i mean, it's
8:27 am
kind of a positive step for the muslim community because it means, well, we're not looking at you, we're looking at you like all other religions, not like a religion apart. but it's just, you know, the reality of the era we live in that, you know, newspapers are going to have to cut back, and that's just one area where, i'm afraid, it's going to go. yep. anybody else? >> wonderful talk and great question and answer period. [applause] >> neil macfarquhar was bureau chief at "the new york times" from 2001 to 2005. he's currently the paper's u.n. bureau chief. he's the author of the sand cafe. to find out more, visit ny >> radio talk executive brian jennings on the new fairness doctrine, why it's a bad idea
8:28 am
and alternatives to censorship. he's interviewed by monica crowley on after words, part of c-span2's booktv weekend.
8:29 am
>> this month c-span2's booktv weekends continue all week in prime time with more books on the economy and politics. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on